Academic freedom and hypocrisy


They always come in twos and threes. Today, Roger Pielke Jr has an article in the Guardian asking excited climate-activist Australians to be tolerant of Bjorn Lomborg. He advises them:

Don’t seek to shut down debate and discussion. This means not seeking to prevent individuals from publishing their views or holding a job where they publish those views. It also means working to create a safe space for the open exchange of ideas, especially when there are social media or other shout down campaigns under way. …

How delightfully ironic. Not many years ago, when I published a piece on critical of Pielke Jr’s ‘iron law’ hypothesis that is exactly what he did: ‘prevent individuals from publishing their views’. The article disappeared overnight: Pielke Jr had prevailed upon Anthony Watts to do the dirty deed.

Speaking of intolerance, everyone’s favourite troll ‘ATTP’ posted yet another diffusely worded tract about ‘the avoidance of the intellectual’. ATTP bemoans how ‘people who spend their lives trying to understand the world’ (i.e., academics like him) are ‘discouraged’ from taking a stand, and are ‘content to stay in their own little bubble, rather than engaging with the broader community.’

I don’t know about you but I can say with confidence ATTP’s online behaviour is exactly that of someone trying hard to ‘stay in his own little bubble, rather than engaging with the broader community’. In fact whenever the ‘broader community’ attempts contact, ATTP shrinks away into the bubble banishing the ‘contactees’. In the latest episode, moderator RachelM banned longtime climate commentator Tom Fuller without asking him first: Fuller was the kind of guy ATTP would have banned anyway.

There are other peculiarities here. In an interesting article on censorship on university campuses Nick Cohen points out how universities no longer support and nurture freedom of expression, in a form they traditionally did.

Michael Harris, a colleague on the Guardian, made the brilliant point to me afterwards that tuition fees had made students consumers. They no more felt they had a duty to uphold freedom of speech when they disapproved of a speaker, than shoppers thought they had a duty to visit M&S …

If tuition fees spurred by the corporatization of universities had made students into consumers, would lecturers and teachers who swim and survive in the environment be far behind? ATTP himself confirms the impression. He points out:

Universities are also now run more as a business than as some institution of learning that provides a service to the broader public …

Consumer students would think like corporate entities and open discussion is not a priority. Cohen says (emphasis mine):

I left thinking how too many left-wing academics were creating the ideal authoritarian types for the corporations, political parties and police forces of tomorrow. The abiding lesson of their supposedly liberal education was that they were entitled to suppress argument.

This precisely describes ATTP’s inclination and a broader tendency among academics. Despite the pious words, ATTP’s blog behavior is fundamentally corporate, and not ‘university-like’, and stems from his academic background.

In defending Lomborg, Pielke Jr says he welcomes a ‘discussion about academic intolerance’. But academic freedom and tolerance are no special breed. You either fight for it for all individuals, including those critical of your ideas, or you don’t. Academics make poor defenders of academic freedom. Despite what they tell you, that’s not what they want.

Censorship by Judith Curry: the devolution of climate blogs keeps pace


The climate skeptic: it is a ‘Kool-Aid’ drinking gun-toting parrot

On a blog post about ‘blog discussions’, Judith Curry bumped off a comment from me that included the sentence “ATTP does not belong in the climate debate”. Curry’s post claims ATTP’s ‘warm blog’ has a magic touch and is heavily commented. Sure.

What is the “magic touch” for a warmie blog? First, you write about the topics running on well-trafficked skeptical blogs. This brings two advantages (i) you don’t have to scratch you head thinking about what to write, (ii) you draw commenters from the well-trafficked blogs. Second, you practice blatant one-sided censorship. This announces and consolidates your partisan status, and earns a stable of commenters who need protection to thrive. Ta da – ‘magic touch’.

The formula is clear: you can examine almost any climate consensus blog – they don’t survive and grow without the golden combination of borrowed skeptic points and censorship.

The opposite does happen. If you go back, there was Bart Verheggen’s blog which hosted, among others, a remarkable discussion thread that ran for thousands of comments with participants of all stripes. Then Keith Kloor’s Collide-a-scape became the venue for interesting discussions. In both the spark lasted as long as the hosts held back, allowing emergent conversation to flow.

Others think it is pesky commenters that destroy good discussion. Marcel Crok’s Climatedialogue and Michael Quircke’s Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) marshaled original climate content and catastrophist Michael Tobis made a hermit of himself at the gated community Planet 3.0. All appear to be motivated by a sense of dread about the barbarians (i.e, commenters).  Climatedialogue and CCNF cordoned commenters into a separate second-class area whereas Planet 3.0 required vetted registration. As far as I can see no ‘magic’ happened. It is no one’s fault but just confirmation of the formula.

Curry now declares she will ensure ‘stricter moderation’ on her blog. Her blog flourished because there was a groundswell of support for someone from the orthodoxy willing to state unpalatable truths. It is unique for the torrent of comments that would put legions of online marketing pundits to shame. It is sad she’s decided to go hunting to remove critical comments.

Climate money and adjustments: keeping things in perspective

Kent Clibze has been trying to get hold of documents that record the ‘rationale, methodology and discussions’ relating to temperature adjustments carried out by NOAA.

NOAA in turn has informed the FOI requester it needs money to comply with the request:


That’s right – NOAA whose annual budget request exceeded $5.5 billion dollars in 2015, is asking for hundreds of thousands of dollars from a private citizen to provide information. On their colourful website NOAA declares it will accomplish lots of good things with their budget ‘while maintaining strong fiscal discipline’. Perhaps this is how they do it.

The rejection letter proclaims the request amounts to work searching for information going back 30 years, as the organization collected temperature data and slathered layer upon layer of adjustment and quality-control.

Messages can’t be given because, we learn, ‘very few if any letters, phone logs, memos, and other communications on this subject would be available’. ‘Historic archived emails’ cannot be had as they are ‘expensive to access and analyze’. In fact we are told almost anything would be be too much. The schizophrenic NOAA proudly states it has been a steward of temperature data ‘for decades’ it has accumulated so much information it would be impossible to find records pertaining to temperature adjustments among them.

If ‘stewardship’ means collecting data and throwing it randomly in the backroom, sure, decades of such accumulation would be difficult to dig through. In case you had doubts ‘thrown-in-the-backroom’ is not how national agencies archive temperature and climate data this should dissuade you:

14015679426_b76495ea32_z 14015740106_c50c0c7373_z 14035560111_4dd74ce23e_z 14035614612_764173ba23_b

From top to bottom, these are climate data archives at Mozambique, El Salvador, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia respectively. It smacks of hypocrisy for NOAA which is undoubtedly the largest and best-funded climate organization in the world to be asking for money to produce records. In effect, NOAA’s letter claims their records are the electronic equivalent of Saudi Arabia’s paper records.

The problem is worse: a clear trail of why each adjustment was adopted, the supporting evidence and relevant authorities’ signing off on them, has to be on file. This is reproducible data science 101. It is inconceivable an organization like NOAA would have functioned in an ad-hoc manner w.r.t one of their public products – the global average temperature record. Procedures must be in place.

The only conclusion is Clizbe’s request has been unfairly turned down.

Climate scientists perform fossil-fuel funded research

Can I interest you in some advice from hypocrites?

After pouncing on Willie Soon for not disclosing funding in his journal papers, it turned out scientist Jon Koomey had done the same thing in several of his own papers (e.g, here, here, here).

Acccording to Gavin Schmidt, any reasons Soon might have not disclosing funding are not even ‘remotely defendable’ as ‘similar post-hoc justifications have been used to excuse horrific unethical practices’.

Behind every believer hankering after purity likely lies a sinful past. Thus one finds Schmidt’s colleague Michael Mann admitting to activist-cum-activist Brendan Montaugue in The Ecologist that his own career was supported by grants from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Mann, who doesn’t miss an opportunity to label his opponents as ‘industry-funded’ or ‘fossil-fuel funded’, worked under scientist Barry Saltzman who he acknowledges in the Climategate emails, ‘got significant support from the EPRI through the years’.

Mann’s own work was supported by grants from the dreaded ‘coal-industry front group’ EPRI. He published not one but two papers with such acknowledgements as shown below:

Mann EPRI funding

Mann’s acknowledgments for funding in the Journal of Geophysical Research (left) and Journal of Climate (right)

 The support did not stop there. From the Climategate emails we see how in c.2005 paleoclimate scientists were faced with some trepidation over accepting ‘industry-related sponsoring’ for a workshop. One of them wrote in an email (emphasis mine):

Maybe unsurprisingly, EPRI 

seems to have a general philosophy of handing climate change by adaptation rather than mitigation, on which not everyone may agree. On the other hand, this is beyond our objectives of reconstructing and understanding climate change. Nevetheless, in the light of this, points that we think needed clarifying and assuring are 1) that the science remains independent.
2) that the credibility of the group and the results does not suffer from industry-related sponsoring.

If these two points can be dealt with, then this could be a good opportunity to get the initiative going. Keith and Mike, it would be important to have your opinions on this. It is clear that all of us addressed here had to be comfortable with EPRI sponsoring and the way this is handled.

Setting aside the excessively over-developed political sensitivities of a scientist who saw the mere accepting of funds from those who favoured ‘handling climate change by adaptation’ as morally objectionable, there was ‘industry sponsorship’ involved. Horror of horrors, that should have been enough for Mike to put his foot down.

But that’s not what he happened (emphasis mine):

Thanks for the update and summary. Having the endorsement of EPPRI (sic) for this could actually be helpful. There is nothing intrinsically anti-industry about the science (though some may feel there is), and so having EPPRI’s (sic) stamp of approval could be helpful for both us and the broader community.

My Ph.D advisor (Barry Saltzman) got significant support from EPPRI (sic) through the years, and he never fealt that they in any way tried to place any constraints on what he did, published, etc

I personally don’t see a problem with this. […]

Hilariously, Mann is oblivious to the evil of accepting support from ‘industry’ but instead answers to the opposite moral conundrum, i.e, one of accepting money from industry to produce research they knew were set to harm it!

Importantly Mann vouched for the impartial nature of EPRI’s funding support.

The ‘four-day workshop’ did take place with EPRI support in Wengen Switzerland in 2006. The meeting, the esteemed scientists wrote in the AGU in-house journal Eos  was a ‘unique setting of the snow-covered Bernese Alps’ that ‘provided a good setting for informal discussions’.

Interestingly, the email thread around the ‘the Wengen paper’—born from discussions at the Swiss resort—runs all the way through rebuttals to the hockey stick, Steve McIntyre, FOI requests from David Holland, down to Climategate.

Back to the EPRI, the ‘industry sponsorship’ of climate scholars did not stop at Wengen. In 2008 Mann, and Schmidt, were in sunny Trieste sipping the good stuff discussing more paleoclimate at yet another ‘industry-funded’ workshop

Mann and Schmidt and others in Trieste, Italy. Sponsored by EPRI.

Mann and Schmidt and others in Trieste, Italy. Sponsored by EPRI.

With all the above, one has to ask – why is accepting support from fossil-fuel industry front groups ok according to … Mann?

In 1994 Mann and his co-author begin their EPRI fossil-fuel funded paper declaring ‘in the face of possible anthropogenic effects on global climate, there is a need to characterize better the nature of historical climate variability’. Just the thing a ‘denier’ would say. Soon is different – he’s given the dirty eye for accepting funding from the same EPRI which turns into a ‘lobby shop’ for the coal-dominated US electricity sector.

Scientists who obtained funding but failed to declare them in their papers, like Koomey, and the alarmist ones who obtained funding from industry sources, like Mann, should step up and speak out – in support of Willie Soon.

Peter Sinclair: ManBearChicken Crock



Video-making Climate Crocker Peter Sinclair is appalled Fred Singer would say ‘smoking is fine for your baby’. That is literally how he perceives Singer’s view that environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) is not an effective carcinogen. Sinclair got so mad that Singer—having been maligned as a baby-killing second-hand smoke promoter for long—is contemplating legal action, he succumbed to a moment of weakness and wrote:

So have at it, guys. Let’s open this discussion up.  I’m all ears on that crazy, alarmist, second hand smoke thing.

Except this wont make it through for discussion on his website:
crock of sinclair

Koomey and Romm: the mote and the beam

A team of climate researchers and activists fail to disclose federal funding and scold climate sceptic Willie Soon for not disclosing funding

Willie Soon has been under fire from climate activists for a long time. The latest round has turned ugly, ensnaring collateral targets like Roger Pielke Jr, Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen among others in questions of funding.

On his blog Pielke Jr remarked how undisclosed conflicts were ‘endemic’, and pointed to a paper† by Jonathan Koomey, Joe Romm and co-authors, published in Environmental Research Letters as an example. He quoted the instructions to authors from the journal:

“… All sources of financial support for the project must also be disclosed in the acknowledgments section. The name of the funding agency and the grant number should be given, for example: “This work was partially funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) through a National Cancer Institute grant R21CA141833.”

Koomey and Romm appeared on the Huffington Post with an article co-signed by scientists who are among the 53 authors of the paper. They declare no disclosure of funding was needed because they used no financial support (emphasis mine):

The reason why there was no statement of conflict of interest is because: 1) there were no “sources of financial support for the project” (it was a labor of love to honor a giant in the energy field) […]

They point to the acknowledgements section of the paper for the assistance received

no acknowledgement

They repeat the assertion

Again, our article had no funding source …

Via Google Scholar one can find other versions of the paper. One is from SciTech Connect, a US federal public-access research database run by the Department of Energy (DOE). The entry for Koomey et al reads as follows:

Scitech Connect

A pdf draft of the paper available from the page. Note the highlighted item against the field ‘DOE Contract Number’.

Interestingly, the acknowledgment section here states the work was supported by a US Department of Energy contract:


The blue box is from text being added separately using a pdf editor. Acrobat tells the extra text about US federal funding was added by a ‘JAWolslegel’ on the 10th of June 2009.

‘DE-AC02-05CH11231’ is a DOE ‘Prime’ federal contract with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) where Koomey worked. It is easy to find that a Jean Wolslegel works as ‘report coordinator’checking to see scientific documents published by the lab ‘comply with DOE and LBNL requirements’ and submits them to ‘DOE’s  Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI)’.

OSTI runs Scitech Connect—is how Koomey et al 2010 ends up there, with reporting of funding ‘in compliance with the DOE’. The paper was originally submitted to the journal in March 2009. The authors sent the paper to the journal without declaring funding but the same paper was submitted to a DOE data agency as product of federally-funded research.

Conclusion? Either Koomey et al worked on their own time, published the paper and falsely declared the work as DOE-funded to a US government agency. Or, Koomey and co-authors’ work was federally funded and reported to authorities appropriately but they failed to declare funding in Environmental Research Letters. It has to be one or the other, and either constitutes a lapse.

They irony is Koomey and Romm’s actions are like Soon’s: failure to disclose funding to journal. Only in Soon’s case the funding agency stipulated non-disclosure in some instances and in others the journal had no policy or requirement for disclosure. Not only do Koomey and Romm fail to disclose funding, they expressly state the opposite trying to morally berate a fellow scientist.

† Defining a standard metric for electricity savings. Koomey J, Akbari H, Blumstein C et al Environ. Res. Lett. 5 (Jan-Mar 2010) 014017)  10.1088/1748-9326/5/1/014017

The Post-Pachauri World

The indefensible


Pachauri – Cover of The New York Academy of Sciences magazine

When the Pachauri messages came out, they read like the sex-crazed ravings of a octogenarian. Much of the initial excitement and focus has been on the sleazy aspect. But a 14-page list of electronic- and hand-written messages from the police report, filed following a complaint by the TERI employee who was their recipient, paints a damaging picture.

Pachauri and his lawyers have claimed his computers and phone were ‘hacked’, generating the text messages and emails that are on public display.

At the end, comes an email from the TERI employee, addressing Pachauri:

Dear Dr. Pachauri,


You began passing on my work to others without checking with/informing me and this time simply marked me a copy over email without actually having to tell me in person and or without a reason. … It is leaving me with no other thought but that how my request to sit in economy was received in personal distaste and just how you react to all this. Pretty unfortunate and sadly, very disappointing.

The response:

I would have preferred not to respond to your email. But what I will say is that you should reflect on the massive insult you heaped on me by indicating that I was so toxic that you would prefer not to sit next to me on the plane. If that be the case there is no room for any interaction between us. … To me that act of yours represented the ultimate in haughtiness, arrogance and insulting behaviour. …

You are welcome to remain a paid guest of TERI. I really would not burden you with any work in future. […]

About 15 days later, comes the next:

Since I really cannot assign any productive work to you in my office, I am thinking of moving you to your former Division, B and B. However, I will have to discuss that with Dr. Alok Adholeya. […]

The responding email gives the employee’s reluctance to sit next to Pachauri on a flight as direct reason for not assigning further work. This is followed by suggestion of a move to a different division.

According to the Economic Times, Pachauri’s lawyers say the woman filed the harassment complaint ‘only after the [she] was told she might have to move due to her “poor performance”.

These messages are far removed from the ‘Return to Almora’-style outpourings. If true they show a boss ready to damage the career of an underling for not complying with sexual demands. I wonder how, and whether Pachauri’s lawyers will show these emails and messages to be a ‘hacker’s and not his. If they are his they are indefensible – they show the full face of sexual harassment. Time will tell.

Defending the indefensible


Pachauri – Nature’s Newsmaker of the Year 2007

One of the rules of climate propaganda is nothing bad ever happens to ‘the cause’. Now that the climate world has lost Pachauri, there is a sudden need to reconcile the blow with the required plastic cheerful front.

Wikipedia’s William Connolley has stepped up with the narrative. Here’s the short version: ‘Pachauri can be safely pushed under the bus’

The Pachauri situation is a problem for the global warming establishment. It can’t go pretending nothing bad happened — an IPCC chair resigned abruptly over revelations that spilled out one fateful weekend. It cannot defend him – that could potentially mean defending sexual harassment. But defending comes naturally especially to climate activists who believe in not ceding an inch of ground.

This is Connolley’s lead:

But [Pachauri] was clearly a creation of Bush1; which needs to be remembered, lest anyone feel themselves trapped or pressured into defending RKP.

That’s right: the guy who was the face of the organization, darling of the green media contingent, Nature magazine’s ‘Newsmaker of the Year 2007‘, two-time head of the IPCC, put back in his post a second time by its members, and ‘Nobel Laureate’ in countless ill-researched gushing editorials and news items, is suddenly a Bush appointee who ‘wasn’t a successful head’ and only a bone thrown to the ‘Third world and India’.

Sorry WC. Would have been more convincing if you had thrown Bush stooge ‘Patchy’ to the wolves, before charges of sexual harassment and criminal intimidation were filed.

Lubos the Adjuster


Physicist Lubos Motl, long-running commentator on all things climate, declared recently he agreed with BEST’s Steven Mosher readers were ‘anti-science nut jobs’.

I agree with Mosher: these “principled” critics of all adjustments are surely throwing the baby out with the bath water. And by the way, I do agree with the description of those who get crazy whenever somebody mentions the word “adjustment” as anti-science nut jobs, and yes, I do think that a large number of such people exists among the WUWT regular readers

Except Mosher said no such thing.

Mosher did call WUWT readers anti-science nut jobs but at a different time. Trying to convince people not to use the word ‘denier’, he said even such loony nut jobs as WUWT readers refrained from using ‘SS’ for Skepticalscience:

anti science nut job

I pointed this out [#1]:

lubos beg

Lubos claimed he hadn’t mixed anything up


I gave him the link to Mosher’s comment – the ‘evidence’. Lubos disappeared it [#2]:

lubos4 link

I waited for about an hour and asked, ‘hey, could you look, a comment (with evidence) disappeared:

lubos look


What I got in return:

This is the part where the tricks start. After a while, Lubos allows the second of my comments – the disappeared one – to appear. Along with a long reply.

rant lub

Lubos was not only tweaking comment timings, he was going the extra mile agreeing with Mosher—it was now ‘infantile’ to be using such acronyms as SS, and a sign of ‘demagoguery’.

Something must have clicked. He was infantile not too long ago himself:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” :-)

So this is what Lubos does:  he goes back to his own comment where he made the “SS” joke (marked ) and adds a sentence. He adds the bolded portion to make his words fit better:

Dear Shub, I haven’t mentioned the funny exchange whether the acronym of Skeptical Science is “SS” at all – if I have to say it now, then indeed, the right acronym of the website is “SS” :-) even though I may avoid this acronym because John Cook is too small a crackpot to hijack such a formidable trademark

before after-01


Ironic? A physicist supporting adjustments to past records, adjusting the record of his own comments?

How does one trust anything Lubos’ has written or said?

The dishonesty in this brief interaction repeats like a fractal in the climate debate. Everything from the desirability of adjustments to skeptics ‘demanding’ them and their impact is spin and PR.


Temperature adjustments: Dodds, Mosher and Venema cannot be happy

As always, the climate orthodoxy possesses little understanding of how the internet works. They struggle to understand how ‘small, inconsequential issues’ seem to get magnified and blow up in their faces. There is undeniable shock at the Booker articles on temperature adjustments in the Telegraph which have over 35,000 comments and 100,000 social media ‘shares’. Here’s one old explanation (from yours truly):

…deficiencies and uncertainties in climate science are not allowed to become part of everyday discussion…

It is for this reason primarily that Trenberth’s Travesty, Mike’s Nature Trick and Jones’ Hide the Decline are all memes of the post-Climategate age. They carry memetic value because their opposites are pushed relentlessly as part the dominant paradigm, even as scientists apparently discuss doubts in private.

The current episode was set off by relentless ‘hottest year ever’ oversell perpetrated by such sources as AP’s Seth Borenstein. It led Paul Homewood to look at hot areas in the global average starting with Paraguay.

‘…if you want to properly understand an argument or debate you need to look at the primary sources’ reminds Kevin Marshall at manicbeancounter, just as Steven Mosher and a clueless Lubos have not done. Marshall traces the evolution of the story:

With the Booker story exploding, a clutch of scientists and enthusiasts decided they needed to spread their own memes. They picked up a rash of ad hoc excuses to fight the mighty Booker.

Excuse #1 – the adjustments produce no change, by Mosher with BEST data.


Messing with temperature trends strikes anyone as a problem. It did climate consensus supporter Andrew Dodds:


Dodds is everyman – he has the questions anyone would have. Going by Mosher – if an adjusted and unadjusted record are roughly the same, there’re no problems. Which means, if an adjusted record is not the same as its unadjusted progenitor, and actually its opposite in trend, there is a problem.


Numerous stations show change in sign, shape, gaps, everything … by way of adjustment. Many of them end up with a warm trend. Accordingly, there is skepticism. Which brings us to Excuse #2.

#2 – we make cooling adjustments too! – by Victor Venema and others.

To prove the adjustments don’t just warm records all over the place, Venema whips out this graph of sea temperatures, where he says ‘scientists’ cooled a steep warming (grey dashed line) to a more gentle one. Hurray!

ocean raw adj1-01

What about the Dodds criterion? The adjustments change the shape of the trend dramatically. Surely, this is a case for natural extreme skepticism.

Dodds may not know this but the global record is subject to such large-scale trend-altering adjustments at several points. With every adjustment, a piece of the climate orthodox narrative fits better with the instrumental temperature record.

Venema’s graph shows a 1910-1940 adjustment. Here’s an adjustment Phil Jones proposed for 1940-1960:


Here is the result of an adjustment Kevin Cowtan and Robert Way propose 1997 onward:



Global temperatures are not derived hands-off, they are beaten into shape. They are malleable and they accommodate everything from 19th century proxy records to sulphate aerosols to the ‘pause’. As Steven Goddard notes, ‘the fact that they can provide theoretical justifications for data tampering, tells us absolutely nothing about the correctness of what they are actually doing’.

All Booker and Delingpole have demonstrated is this. In the global warming narrative, if you adjust something, something else breaks: Dodds, Mosher and Venema cannot all be happy at the same time.


The Puerto Casado Story (it moved because there is change and there is a change because it moved)


A view from the river at Puerto Casado. Photo – Julio Balles

Puerto Casado is a small town along the border of Paraguay whose temperature history became a topic on Christopher Booker’s column in the Telegraph. Booker showed how a raw cooling trend had metamorphosed into its opposite after ‘adjustments’. This was contested quickly by climate scientist Ed Hawkins who pointed to the town’s record on BEST. It indicated the station had been moved.


BEST record: the red diamonds are marked ‘station moves’.

Perhaps the Puerto Casado station had been shifted to a cooler location… introducing a false cooling trend? The natural question to ask is – how does BEST know a rural station in the remote reaches of South America moved twice? Where does it get this information?

The answer, it turns out, is an entangled mess. The Puerto Casado record in BEST includes metadata from various sources. Metadata is what contains station location information. The sources collated by BEST show different latitude-longitude pairs for the station. The co-ordinates are slightly different, and they fall not far from one other.


The town labelled ‘La Victoria’ is Puerto Casado, for which it is another name. Some of the coordinates derived from BEST’s data sources for the station are shown.

BEST does not know the field reality of the station. Nor does it not know if the station truly moved or locations were wrongly recorded. Nor does BEST have information on the timing of any move. What it does is assume the station moved—given that different coordinates were recorded—and looks for breaks/shifts in the temperature. If breaks are present they are assumed to be due to moves. Plus, the breaks are assumed to have caused the station to look different from its neighbours.

In other words, what BEST records as ‘moves’ are not known documented moves.

Following this, BEST transforms the temperature series. It compensates for the ‘moves’ and tries to remove shifts. The result is a Puerto Casado record, which has its linear trend reversed by close to 2.7C per century.

Puerto Casado BEST

To answer our original questions about BEST: was the station moved? We don’t know for sure. When was it moved? We don’t know. What is the effect of the supposed moves? We don’t know but we think it changed the temperature. How do you know this? Because there is change. When do you think the moves happened? When the changes occurred. And what will do to ‘correct’ this? Make Puerto Casado look like every other station around it.

We can ask BEST further questions: Are you not data-peeking? How did you settle on such non-independent analysis? We can expect silence.

Remarkably enough, supporters of climate orthodoxy manage to top such circuitous circular reasoning. Kevin Cowtan, another global temperature adjustment practitioner, declares the station instruments at Puerto Casado must have suffered calibration errors—at the same points in time when BEST says the stations must have moved.

For all the hype, BEST’s methods produce local records that are no better than the NCDC, conjuring ad-hoc rationalizations for ‘adjustments’ from the temperatures themselves. The reasoning is circular and BEST and others do not even attempt to hide it. Journalists like Booker are right to question such methods and data.

« Older Entries Recent Entries »